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News Briefs: July 19, 2019

/ 05:20 AM July 19, 2019

Duterte fires 52 Customs employees

President Duterte has relieved 52 Bureau of Customs employees over allegations of corruption. The sacked employees were directed to appear at Malacañang on Thursday night and there Mr. Duterte told them they were dismissed. Also at that meeting were Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo and Sen. Bong Go. —Julie M. Aurelio

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PET rejects bid vs Bongbong’s protest

The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), dismissed as premature Vice President Leni Robredo’s petition to dismiss the election protest of former Sen. Bongbong Marcos. The tribunal said it would look into the votes cast in the three pilot provinces contested by Marcos. Ma. Bernadette Sardillo, Robredo’s legal counsel, said their camp was “extremely disappointed, but that they respect the PET’s decision.” —Dona Z. Pazzibugan and Jhesset O. Enano

Duterte threatens martial law anew

President Duterte might declare martial law should terrorist activities reach the nation’s capital in Metro Manila, Malacañang said. The Palace issued the warning following the recent twin suicide bombings in Indanan, Sulu, that hit a military camp. “Didn’t he say, ‘Don’t force me to the wall. If you don’t stop, I’ll be compelled to use powers granted to me by the Constitution,’” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said. —Julie M. Aurelio

Startup Act now law

President Duterte has signed a law which seeks to provide subsidies and grants to startup businesses. Republic Act

No. 11337, or the Innovative Startup Act aims to “foster inclusive growth through an innovative economy.” The Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Information and Communications Technology and the Department of Trade and Industry will be the lead agencies implementing a Philippine Startup Development Program as mandated by the law. —Julie M. Aurelio

‘Bikoy’  charges VP, others

The flip-flopping accuser alleging President Duterte’s drug links has turned government witness against Vice President Leni Robredo and 31 others as he charged them with sedition and other offenses. Peter Advincula, who once claimed to be the “Bikoy” narrator in a series of anti-Duterte videos, submitted his sworn statement to the Department of Justice on Thursday. Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra will form a panel to investigate the complaint. —Dona Z. Pazzibugan

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Sara, Baste to skip Sona

Both Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte and Vice Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte will be absent at President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 22. Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the mayor was on a “special medical leave for 60 days” for which the Palace is praying for her quick recovery, while her younger brother has to attend a regular session by the Davao City council that same day. —Julie M. Aurelio

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TAGS: Bikoy, Bongbong Marcos, Bureau of Customs, corruption, duterte, Leni Robredo
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